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Published October 20, 2010, 12:00 AM

Free document shredding set at Fargo sites

Shredding old documents like bank statements and canceled checks can play a big role in identity theft protection.

By: Sherri Richards, INFORUM

Shredding old documents like bank statements and canceled checks can play a big role in identity theft protection.

Free document shredding is being offered locally by two agencies this week as part of Identity Theft Awareness Week.

“It’s a growing crime, and unfortunately everyone has so many documents with sensitive information. The longer you keep them around, the greater the chance they’re going to land in the wrong hands,” said Dan Hendrickson, communications coordinator for the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota.

The Better Business Bureau is co-sponsoring Secure Your ID Day on Saturday in Fargo and Bismarck. Free document shredding will be offered from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Wells Fargo parking lot, 2501 13th Ave. S., Fargo.

Nearby, the Village Family Service Center, 1201 25th St. S., will offer free document shredding today and Thursday.

On Tuesday, Tjaden Sinclair, a financial counselor with the Village Family Resource Center, gave a presentation on deterring, detecting and defending against identity theft.

He said common ways identity thieves gather information is digging through garbage, stealing a wallet or purse, stealing mail, “phishing” with

e-mails or fake websites or via personnel records.

“No one can completely avoid identity theft, but there are things we can do to limit the risk,” Sinclair said.

More than 11 million Americans were victims of identity theft last year, resulting in losses of $54 billion, Hendrickson said.

Sinclair and Hendrickson offered these tips for consumers:

  • Avoid carrying any identification that in-cludes your Social Security number.

  • If asked for your Social Security number, ask why it is needed, how it will be used and how the company will protect it.

  • Shred documents with financial information. Do not leave these documents lying around your house.

  • When shopping online, ensure the site is secure by looking for the padlock symbol on the Web page.

  • Change computer passwords regularly.

  • Destroy expired credit cards.

  • Look for unusual activity on bank statements. Be mindful of bills that didn’t arrive.

  • Regularly check credit reports at www.annualcreditreport.com

    “People whose identity has been stolen can be denied a job, student loan or even have criminal charges filed against them,” Sinclair said.

    Victims of identity theft should place a fraud alert on their account with the three major credit reporting companies, close their accounts, file a police report and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, he said.

    If you go

  • What: Free document shredding and cell phone recycling

  • When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Thursday

  • Where: Village Family Service Center, 1201 25th St. S., Fargo

  • Info: Material limited to three banker boxes or four shopping bags. Free brats, chips and pop offered 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, or until gone. Donations accepted for Nokomis Child Care Centers.


  • What: Secure Your ID Day, with free document shredding

  • When: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday

  • Where: Wells Fargo parking lot, 2501 13th Ave. S., Fargo

  • Info: Material limited to one banker box per person


    Document shredding at Minnkota

    Minnkota Secured Document Destruction will provide free document shredding Thursday and Friday to promote National Protect your Identity Week.

    Document shredding will be offered from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday at its facility in Fargo at 809 4th Ave. N.

    For more information, call Mary Aldrich at (701) 293-8428 ext. 313.


    Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556

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